The Columbia School of Social Work congratulates Dr. Qin Gao on being formally approved for promotion to the rank of full professor by the Trustees of Columbia University. A doctoral alumna of CSSW’s Class of 2005, Dr. Gao is a preeminent expert on Chinese social policy. Our newest full-time faculty member, she is now our newest full professor.

Dr. Gao’s groundbreaking research focuses on social welfare policy in China—specifically, poverty, inequality, and family well-being. Her scholarship is characterized by an innovative use of data and social research methods, and her expertise has guided policy-makers across many spheres: from local and national government officials in China, to the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, to UNICEF.

“Professor Qin Gao is clearly a leader in the profession,” said Interim Dean Irwin Garfinkel. “There are very few scholars in schools of social work who meet this level of expertise and scholarship.”

Professor Gao’s promotion has arrived with two other pieces of good news. Her new book, Welfare, Work, and Poverty: Social Assistance in China, has just been released by Oxford University Press. It presents her findings on the impact and effectiveness of the Minimum Livelihood Guarantee, or dibao, China’s primary social assistance program.

In addition, Dr. Gao has been approved to lead the newly created China Center for Social Policy at CSSW. This research hub will provide institutional support for her research and will also serve as a platform for increased collaboration between the American and Chinese social work communities.

“I’m extremely honored and excited. My colleagues in the school conduct important and impactful research. Our students are energetic and innovative. What inspires me the most is the entire school’s deep commitment to social justice,” said Professor Gao, adding: “I look forward to working with many others to build the newly approved China Center. Our goal is to produce high-quality research that will shape social policy and social work development in China, and to support and promote the education and career development of any student who might be interested in these issues.”

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